HOT: Designing 007 – 50 Years of Bond Style, Melbourne Museum, Nicholson St, Carlton

james bond melbourne

Designing 007 – 50 years of Bond Style is Melbourne Museum‘s showcase James Bond exhibition for the summer. And if you don’t want to share the space with gawping noisy kids then I recommend heading to the museum on Friday nights when the exhibition is open for adults only, with special location themed nights, martini talks and music.

Every Friday night 5-9pm until the exhibition closes on 23 February you can have a cocktail at the Bond Bar, purchase themed food and nibbles, dress up in costumes from Rose Chong and see the extensive Bond exhibition at a leisurely pace.

james bond melbourne

Designing 007 – 50 years of Bond Style comes to Melbourne from London’s Barbican and features many items which will delight Bond fans (like RM, who’s seen every single Bond film) and entertain those with a passing interest in Bond (like me).

We spent around 2 hours looking at all the exhibits. There’s lots to absorb, with drawing and models of sets, vehicles and technology from five decades from 1962’s Dr. No to 2012’s Skyfall. Most of the items are original but there are some re-creations which I don’t think are particularly necessary (even if it is Ursula Andress’ white bikini in Dr No).

Designing 007 – 50 years of Bond Style starts with an eye-catching entrance to the Gold Room with a gold-painted replica of Shirley Eaton draped on a rotating cushion. You then proceed through various themed rooms – the most interesting one for me was the ‘casino’ room with many glamorous evening gowns and excerpts from the films where the gowns are featured. The sometimes outlandish gadgetry featured in various Bond films is also fascinating.

Take the time to watch the short 20 seconds films interviewing various people involved in the making of Bond, including special-effects expert John Stears discussing how he had to drill into a brand-new Aston Martin DB5 for Goldfinger and a languid cigar-toting Sir Ken Adam discussing how he decided to pack an autogyro in crocodile-skin cases. Give the ‘Foreign Territories section’ which details Bond’s exotic locations, a quick walk-through.

Designing 007 – 50 years of Bond Style is as entertaining as the Bond franchise itself, even for someone who only has a passing interest in the films and books. If you want to join the Friday Night Bond Experience you can book on-line. Note that the The Bond bar and Designing 007 exhibition are also open till 9pm Saturday nights.

james bond melbourne

Finally on 22 February you can celebrate White Night with James Bond’s last night in Melbourne from 7pm 22 February to 7am 23 February – imagine seeing the exhibition at 3am after a few drinks! To purchase your White Night tickets go to Melbourne Museum Tickets.

Designing 007 – Fifty years of Bond Style, Melbourne Museum, Nicholson St, Carlton

1 Nov 2013 – 23 Feb 2014 10am-5pm daily

Late Nights Friday and Saturday open till 9pm

Adult  $24
Adult Flexible* $34
Concession  & Students $16
Child  $14
MV Members – Adult $14, Concession $12, Child $10

Includes entry to Melbourne Museum between 10.00am and 5.00pm on the day of your visit

HOT: Underground Cinema Snow, Collingwood College, cnr Cromwell St and McCutcheon Way, Collingwood

Underground Cinema Snow, Collingwood College, cnr Cromwell St and McCutcheon Way, Collingwood (6)
Underground Cinema is more than just going to the movies – it’s a whole theatrical experience in a secret location, with a secret film revealed right at the end. It’s fun, novel and has developed a bit of a cult following since it first started in Melbourne in 2009.

I was invited to experience Underground Cinema‘s first show of 2013 which had a ‘Snow’ theme. As promised, it was their most interactive and immersive film screening to date. The amount of planning, organisation and dress rehearsals that must have gone into this production was astounding.

Underground Cinema Snow, Collingwood College, cnr Cromwell St and McCutcheon Way, Collingwood (5)

The first clue to the foreign/arthouse/horror film screening was an invitation to enrol into the UGC Swedish Forensic Academy. “You’ll need to have a keen eye for detail and a propensity to discover the truth. Temperatures are low and snow has been forecast as an entire town awaits the verdict, relying on all the help they can get.”

The dress code was “All in white, trousers and sensible shoes” and we were told to bring a pen, torch and camera. I managed to get two out of the three requirements in the dress code but come on, I’m Melburnian! My wardrobe is predominantly black and I literally own one white Tshirt in my wardrobe. Fortunately at this screening every non-white wearer was issued with a papery zip-up onesie and it proved to be an amusing and curiously cosy outfit for the evening (though a bit difficult for the bathroom!).

The secret venue was revealed a few days before the screening as Collingwood College. A high school? It still didn’t give me any sense of the identity of the film. However, the winding corridors, numerous rooms and school cinema proved to be a perfect location to hold a secret cinema screening.

Underground Cinema Snow, Collingwood College, cnr Cromwell St and McCutcheon Way, Collingwood (7)


Before we even got close to the cinema we were separated into groups and made to march in chain gang lines, undergo a psychological examination, a physical medical, listen to a lecture on forensic science, visit a crime scene and listen to a police interview. Everyone talked in fake Swedish accents.

Underground Cinema Snow, Collingwood College, cnr Cromwell St and McCutcheon Way, Collingwood (1)

Underground Cinema Snow, Collingwood College, cnr Cromwell St and McCutcheon Way, Collingwood (4)


All the shenanigans were very amusing and fun and went on for close to an hour, with a pit stop for a Rekorderlig cider along the way.

Underground Cinema Snow, Collingwood College, cnr Cromwell St and McCutcheon Way, Collingwood (2)

Then we were held in a ‘holding pen’ outside the cinema (with actors weaving themselves in and out of the crowd) for another hour, which was a quite boring even though there was bar service and some dodgy Swedish meatballs for snacks. We took a lot of selfies!

Underground Cinema Snow, Collingwood College, cnr Cromwell St and McCutcheon Way, Collingwood (3)

My friends who were in the later tranche said that they didn’t get through the entrance for 45 minutes, so it seemed like everyone had long period of waiting either at the start or finish. I hope that they iron out that issue next time because it was more than two hours from the entry time to the film screening, by which time I was very, very sleepy.

As for the film? I had my bets on the original version of Girl with a Dragon Tattoo but it was Let The Right One In, a very dark vampire film from Sweden. As I watched the film all the ‘clues’ we’d experienced before the screening all came together – cleverly done, Underground Cinema!

For more information on upcoming Underground Cinema screenings, check out, and

HOT: Hollywood Costume, ACMI, Federation Square

Hollywood Costume ACMI Federation Square

If you like fashion, design, movies or movie stars, do not miss ACMI’s Winter Masterpiece exhibition this year, Hollywood Costume which explores the role costume design plays in cinema.

It comes to Melbourne via the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and it’s one of the best curated exhibitions I’ve visited recently. It doesn’t just consist of a few garments from B-grade movies you’ve never heard of – it’s a true blockbuster show, with iconic costumes from movies from the 30s right to present day. Set aside at least 2 hours to see everything.

While the clothing is on mannequins the exhibition doesn’t feel too static as in some cases the heads of the mannequins have been replaced with screen shots (sometimes gently moving) of the actor who played the character. This is genius, as some of the most famous movie characters are difficult to divorce from a specific actor – so Dorothy’s blue gingham pinafore is topped by Judy Garland’s smile and Givenchy’s LBD for Breakfast at Tiffany’s opening scene has Audrey Hepburn’s face with it.

The captions that accompany each garment often highlight details that you probably never noticed when you watched the film. Nothing that appears on screen is casual or incidental. For instance there’s a reason that the capes in the Harry Potter films are lined with bright colours – to bring life to the Great Hall scenes when all the students sit in black together.

Don’t worry it’s not just all pretty frocks – there’s plenty to impress the menfolk too, such as Bruce Willis’ outfit from Die Hard, Robert de Niro’s boxing attire from Raging Bull and a Brioni suit worn by Daniel Craig as James Bond. Look upwards so you don’t miss the superhero costumes hanging from the ceiling and the walls – Superman, Batman, Spiderman and Catwoman. Did you know that they made 20 Superman suits of different weights depending on whether the cape was flying or waving in the breeze?

Interspersed with the mannequins are looping interviews with directors, actors and costume designers talking about the importance of costume to building a character and a story. It’s well worth watching these short videos to gain a deeper experience of the works you’re seeing, especially the ones with Meryl Streep and Robert de Niro.

Given the amount of reading/listening that’s required to appreciate the exhibition fully, I don’t recommend bringing young children to the exhibition who don’t have the patience to watch the videos (as you won’t have a chance to watch them either) and definitely don’t bring kids who need a pram, as the crowds are large and you will just annoy others if you block the walkways and prevent people from getting close enough to view the captions and screens. Also note that there are no seats in the exhibition so wear comfortable shoes.

I predict that Hollywood Costume will be very popular so if you can to attend on a weekday rather than weekend and arrive early in the morning. When you enter, begin from the end of the exhibition and work towards the start to avoid the masses of people jostling their way from start to finish. You won’t be disadvantaged by going against the flow as it’s not essential you view the exhibition sequentially.

I also recommend buying your tickets in advance to save lining up, note that entrances are timed every hour, on the hour.

Finally there are loads of events that are being held in conjunction with Hollywood Costume – check out the list of movies, talks, workshops and entertainments here. I recommend taking a free curator tour as ACMI guides take you through exhibition.

Hollywood Costume, ACMI, Federation Square

Wednesday 24 April – Sunday 18 Aug 2013
Open daily 10am – 5pm (Thursdays until 9pm)
Full $19.50 Concession $15.50 ACMI Member $13.50

Child (4-15 years) $10

Family (2 adults, 3 children) $50 ACMI Member Family $40
Unlimited entry*: Full $48 Concession $38 ACMI Member $32
School and group bookings also available

HOT: Night of the Lepus, Cinema Fiasco!, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Cinema Nova, 368-384 Lygon St, Carlton

Cinema Fiasco Melbourne International Comedy Festival Cinema Nova

This year for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival I decided to do things a little differently.

Rather than going to see a packed timetable of international stand up comics (my usual modus operandi) I watched a film instead. Ever heard of ‘Night of the Lepus‘? Me either.

Night of the Lepus is an unintentionally funny sci-fi horror film from the 70s about giant carnivorous killer rabbits (!) and it was presented (on Good Friday – ha ha!) by Cinema Fiasco – a Melbourne comedy duo who show bad movies on the big screen and overlay it with hilarious commentary.

Geoff Wallis and Janet A McLeod do a great job introducing the film, giving us some background about why such a terrible film could be made, telling us about the actors – including Janet Leigh of Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ fame – which scenes to look out for and details to note (stripes stripes stripes everywhere). With judicious use of a laser pointer they highlight thematic incongruencies, bad acting and crappy special effects. In this case they included bad closeups of fluffy bunnies, lots of torn clothing with red paint thrown on them and long boring shots of helicopters flying.

For $20 a ticket and a choc top you’re guaranteed two hours of almost constant laugh-out-loud hilarity – pretty good odds considering some of the dire comedy shows I’ve paid to attend before.

Cinema Fiasco is a unique movie-going and comedy experience and the only time I’ll be happy that there’s someone talking the cinema. They are normally at home at the Astor Theatre but during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival they will be screening at Cinema Nova for a limited season. Don’t miss it!

HOT List: Melbourne International Film Festival 2012 picks

Last night RM and I attended the members preview of Melbourne International Film Festival 2012 just so we could get our hands on the program before public release online today and in hard copy this Friday 13 July.

As is our annual tradition, we spent the night making a longlist and then shortlist of 20 films for our two mini-passes (1o films per pass and 3 free daytime weekday sessions for those who don’t work 9-5 jobs). If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by the program, here are our final picks for 2012 (for bonus points, guess who’s going to see what films!).

Here are the films we liked that didn’t make the final cut, mostly due to scheduling conflicts and prior commitments.

Finally a bit of a plug for joining as a MIFF member. Not only have I secured my tickets ahead of the general public, I got my mini-pass at a discounted member price of $125 and the best advantage is that I get priority entry to all sessions – no lining up in the cold! Throughout the year you can use your MIFF membership card to receive concession ticket prices to many cinemas and MIFF hold free member screenings of upcoming films and give away free tickets to films and events regularly. Well worth the money!

Happy cinema-going!

Underground Cinema Hope – Giveaway

Underground Cinema is a secret film screening event that happens in secret locations throughout inner Melbourne and for the first time ever – Sydney. I’ve been a guest of Underground Cinema a few times (read reviews here and here) and it’s always been great fun – there’s the opportunity to get into fancy-dress and meet at a secret location to enjoy food, drinks and entertainment along with a secret film.

Their latest event is entitled ‘Hope’ – the invitation definitely sounds on the sci-fi side.

All tickets to Sydney and Melbourne sessions sold out – but there’s hope (haha)! I have a double pass to give away on for the 4pm session on Sunday 22 July. To win, all you have to do is leave a comment and the winner will be randomly drawn Friday 13 July. Good luck! Comments have now closed.

HOT: High Tea at the Movies, Cinema Nova, 380 Lygon St, Carlton

For three weekends my local cinema Cinema Nova are holding High Tea At The Movies – the more refined version of the multiplex Gold Class experience.

For $39 you get to sip tea, bubble or a Pimms cocktail and receive a box of treats while enjoying a new release film. I was invited to try their high tea during their screening of the French comedy The Chef.

First of all, this is not high tea of the quality that you’d expect from a grand hotel or tea salon. You do, after all, have to eat with food perched on your lap or on a tiny little side table by your cinema seat, so there’s only so much dainty presentation that’s possible. The cardboard box does feel a bit like a Qantas airline meal but aesthetics aside the food inside is actually quite good and certainly a step up from popcorn, chips and an icecream.

You receive two savoury nibbles (a smoked salmon crostini and chicken sandwich) but overwhelmingly the treats are sweet – a surprisingly good macaron, a run-of-the-mill chocolate chip biscuit, three miniature tartlets then your choice of a large tartlet with the same flavours.

My recommendation is the lemon meringue pie – I loved the neatly piped rows of meringue on the top – but avoid the strawberry tart which was filled with a very runny and messy custard.

Given the nature of the food it’s actually not advisable to eat during the film – so when they say 3pm for a 3:30pm screening I recommend arriving on time so you can relax with your food and drinks. Also there are no previews so you don’t want to be stumbling over people’s glasses or pots of tea and eating pastries in the dark while the action is happening on screen.

As for the film itself – let’s just say it was a frothy, rollicking comedy all about food, with lots of ridiculous plot twists and one instance of pretty cringe-worthy racial stereotyping. I think you’ll fare better with the other films coming up – this weekend High Tea At The Movies will be showing a period drama about the Danish royal family called A Royal Affair (not featuring Princess Mary) and the next weekend will be Where Do We Go Now, which recently won Best Picture at the Toronto Film Festival.

Next Wave Festival 2012 – Day Pass Giveaway!

I’ve been a fan of Next Wave Festival since I volunteered to man a Docklands shipping container/arts space for the festival years ago.

Well, Next Wave Festival 2012 opens next Saturday (19-27 May) and this year they’re running a bit of an experiment to help you discover a new way of experiencing an arts festival.

With a festival Day Pass you can spend a day with a series of works that explores a theme relevant to our contemporary world,  from gender politics to climate change, fantastic imaginary worlds to our ability to perceive the truth. The day starts with discussions the Breakfast Club, a discussion about how the world and art collide over breakfast at the Wheeler Centre, before setting off on an adventure experienced through visual art, performance, dance, live art and more – with plenty of stop-overs for food, drinks and discussion.

Tours are led by an informed art guide and audiences will be taken into Melbourne’s most interesting places, to view the some of Australia’s most interesting artists.

Plus each Day Pass holder will receive some cool goodies with their pass – a Crumpler Tuft water-resistant pouch, a myki filled with enough credit to get you around from show to show (then keep it and top it up for everyday use!) and discounts at the tastiest spots in North Melbourne to help you refuel between shows, such as Grigons & OrrToastOld Melbourne CafeSensible Sandwich and more.

Day Passes start are $20-$56 (plus booking fee) and there’s a different pass for each day of the festival.  You can also check out other Next Wave Festival events at

Giveaway! Thanks to Next Wave Festival I have a Double Day Pass for Tuesday 22 May…totally worth chucking a sickie for! To win all you have to do is a leave a comment below and the winner will be drawn next Friday 18 May. Good luck!

And the winner of the double pass to Melbourne Museum’s The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia is…Theresa! Your prize will be posted out to you.

HOT: Rooftop Cinema, 6/252 Swanston St, Melbourne

Ah summer!

There are certain events that happen every year which really mark the season in Melbourne. Cricket. Tennis. The Suzuki Night Market. Free music in the parks. And one of my favourites, outdoor cinema.

Every year I try to get to at least one summer movie screening under the stars – it’s still a novelty outing for me. Despite growing up in balmy Brisbane, outdoor cinema never really took off while I was living there. I think people were just used to hiding from the humidity inside air-conditioned multiplexes and the thought of sitting on a rug battling bugs to watch an old film didn’t really appeal.

Melburnians are a much hardier lot! Despite the freezing, blustery weather that greeted us for our screening of The Blues Brothers at Rooftop Cinema, it was a sold out session. We wore long pants, jackets, brought a rug and still needed to hire another rug ($5 and totally worth it if you don’t dress up in ski gear, like one movie-goer we spotted).

Despite Melbourne’s unpredictable and at times inclement weather, Rooftop Cinema is a magical experience. Have a pre-movie drink at the Rooftop bar or enjoy burgers, fries and ice-cream from All-Day Burger (courtesy of the folks behind Beatbox Kitchen).

Listen to the sounds of the city’s nightlife rise up amongst the rooftops. Watch the lights of the city glow glamorrously against the fading light.

Then sit back in a deck chair, curl up under your blanket(s) and sing along to ‘Rawhide’ in the ‘mission from God’.

I heart you Melbourne. Thank you for bringing us Rooftop Cinema.

Rooftop Cinema, 6/252 Swanston St, Melbourne

Giveaway: Environmental Film Festival Melbourne 2011

The Environmental Film Festival Melbourne is back again this year with more environmental themed films screening from 11-16 October at Kino Cinemas, 45 Collins St, Melbourne.

The aim of the festival is to increase awareness of key environmental issues by bringing together film-makers, experts, policy makers, politicians and the wider community in an open conversation about the world we live in. Click here to read an interview from last year with the director of the festival, Nicholas Aberle.

Thanks to the Environmental Film Festival Melbourne I have a double pass to give away to two films – Into Eternity and City Light.

Into Eternity is screening on Friday 14 October 8:30pm. Every day, the world over, large amounts of high-level radioactive waste created by nuclear power plants is placed in interim storages, which are vulnerable to natural disasters, man-made disasters, and to societal changes. In Finland the world’s first permanent repository is being hewn out of solid rock – a huge system of underground tunnels – that must last 100,000 years as this is how long the waste remains hazardous. Once the waste has been deposited and the repository is full, the facility is to be sealed off and never opened again. Or so we hope, but can we ensure that?

City Dark has its Australian Premiere on Saturday, 15 October 9:00pm. This is a feature documentary about light pollution and the disappearing night sky. After moving to New York City from rural Maine, filmmaker Ian Cheney asks a simple question, “Do we need the stars?”. Exploring the threat of killer asteroids in Hawaii, tracking hatching turtles along the Florida coast, and rescuing injured birds on Chicago streets, Cheney unravels the myriad implications of a globe glittering with lights. Featuring stunning astrophotography and a cast of eclectic scientists, philosophers, historians and lighting designers, “The City Dark” is the definitive story of light pollution and the disappearing stars.

If you’d like to win the tickets, just leave a comment below letting me know which film you’d like to see. The winners will be drawn randomly on Monday 10 October. Good luck!

You can buy tickets for these movies and other sessions here.  Tickets are $18 adults  $14 concession and multi-passes are available here.